Robertson Davies' Fifth Business Essay

595 Words 3 Pages
Robertson Davies' Fifth Business

In the novel 'Fifth Business', the author Robertson Davies is successfully able to relate both the themes of magic and religion throughout. He achieves this relationship between the themes primarily through the characters and their actions. Dunstan Ramsay, Paul Dempster, Mary Dempster and Liselotte Vitzliputzli all help to illustrate the close relationship between magic and religion.

One of the characters that Davies uses to relate the theme of magic and religion is Dunstable Ramsay. Dunny was brought up in a Scottish Presbyterian family in Deptford, Ontario. While in the war, he kept himself busy by reading the New Testament and states 'Arabian Nights and the Bible were getting pretty close',
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Along with the idea of magic, Eisengrim?s show Soiree of Illusions incorporated themes of myth including Dream of Midas, Vision of Dr. Faust and the Brazen Head of Friar Bacon and wants himself and his illusions ?to be marveled at?. Eisengrim is later subject of a false autobiography written by Dunstan where Eisengrim is portrayed as a wonderful and mysterious person like a saint is. Here the relationship between magic and religion is evident.

Mary Dempster, who is named after a saint can be considered to be a saint in this novel. She is the mother of a famous magician and the wife of a priest. This freely displays the relationship between magic and religion. According to Dunstan, she is considered a fool-saint because she performed three miracles, but without being aware of it. The first involved the rebirth of Surgeoner by an act of charity. The second was the revival of Willie from the dead and the third was her miraculous appearance to Dunstan during the war at Passchendaele.

Liselotte Vitzliputzli otherwise known as Lisel is introduced midway through the novel, but still plays an important element in the theme of magic and religion. The theme of religion is demonstrated when she asks Dunstan ??do you know what my name really means?? Lisel?s last name is the demons name in the play The Vision of Dr. Fautus where Faust was a magician who sold his soul to the devil. During a fight between Lisel and Dunstan, Dustan twists her
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